Model Rachel Hunter tells of inflamed heart after break from fiancé

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Model Rachel Hunter has told for the first time how she faced a lengthy battle with health problems following the break-up of her relationship with her fiancé.

Now back to health, the 43-year-old told Hello! magazine she suffered a potentially life-threatening problem with inflammation of the heart, which led to a spell in hospital.

Hunter said she is hoping to find love again after splitting from Canadian ice-hockey player Jarret Stoll in 2009, just six weeks before they were due to marry. She divorced Rod Stewart – with whom she has two children – in 2006 and the singer has written about their relationship in his autobiography, which was published this week.

Speaking about her health woes, Hunter said: “I had a cold and I just felt out of breath and a little bit weird,” she told the magazine. “I went to a friend and said, ‘Look, you need to take me to the emergency room’. I was diagnosed with myocarditis and pericarditis, which can happen when you have the flu. If you are exercising and you’ve got a really bad flu, it really can be a very quiet killer.”

But no sooner had she recovered, she was back in hospital with a severe back problem –two slipped discs – although surgery was successful

Her health issues began about a year after splitting from Stoll.

“When Jarret made the decision for us to split up the engagement and stuff, that set off a rollercoaster of emotions for me,” Hunter said.

“And it’s very hard: your self-esteem, your pride. I actually didn’t realise at the time that it affected me as much as it did.”

But she now says it was for the best. “He was right in the decision he made, as hard as that was for me to realise then.”